Friday, January 11, 2008

Ashamed to be Canadian!

I have never been so ashamed to be a Canadian, but this is what happens when you first leave the dreamy stupor in which most of us live while ignoring the erosion of our fellow citizens' freedoms by Gnostic bureaucrats enrobed in the mantle of the Crown. I am talking about the widespread ignoring of the attack on a freedom - speech - that is fundamental to a free and humane society, by the so-called "Human Rights" Commissions of Canada. Due to my shame, I am going to leave aside for the moment my own critique of the ethical and moral stupidity of those who think human rights can be protected for anyone, even the most legitimate of victims, by silencing anyone, even the most hateful. Today was Ezra Levant's day in "court" and since the "court" in question is a Star Chamber that doesn't want anyone to know what it is up to, doesn't want you or me or anyone to simply sit and watch them erode Ezra's freedom, I am going to make this post a witness to Ezra's words. I'm pretty sure he won't mind me quoting his blog posts in their entirety. Follow the links to Ezra's blog for the originals.

At today's "human rights" interrogation, I was not permitted to bring anyone other than my lawyer and my wife along -- the "human rights officer" barred others from attending as observers, even other officers of the magazine (such as our former editor). The news media who showed up congregated in the lobby of the law firm and waited until we were done.

But my lawyer and I insisted that we be permitted to record the interrogation, for use when we appeal the commission's decision to a real court. The officer allowed the video camera, but asked that we keep the recording confidential. But, over a year ago, our lawyer served notice on the commission that we reserved the right to publish any communications to or from the commission whatsoever, and that they should govern themselves accordingly. It's not surprising that a censor like the commission would want to do its censorship in the dark.

I'm currently downloading the 90-minute recording. It's too long to upload on YouTube (they limit uploads to ten minutes), and much of the interrogation was repetitive. I will endeavour to upload the most interesting exchanges over the next few days.

In the meantime, here is the first news report that I've seen on the subject, from CanWest News. An excerpt:

"A secular government bureaucracy has essentially been hijacked by a radical Muslim imam," [Levant] said. "It's being used to further his fatwa against these cartoons."

"We have a great tradition of free speech in Canada," he said.

"My freedom to publish a cartoon that some radical Muslim imam doesn't like, well that's the free west for ya."

UPDATE: Here is the local CBC clip on the subject -- fast forward to 30:35 (link is likely not permanent).
I have just returned home from my session at the kangaroo court, called the Alberta human rights commission. Here is my opening statement that I delivered at the interrogation. I will post more details about the interrogation soon.

Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary

My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.

When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website,

I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.

I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.

It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.

The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.

But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.

We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.

That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.
In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote

1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.

For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.

It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.)

It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.

I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.

You may start your interrogation.
Third: My visit to a kangaroo court - Ezra Levant
Today at 2 p.m. I will appear before an Alberta "human rights officer" for an interrogation. I am being interrogated for the political crime of publishing the Danish cartoons in the Western Standard nearly two years ago.

As a lawyer, I've been in different courts and tribunals, but I've never experienced a kangaroo court first-hand. I will have a more comprehensive report later today. In the meantime, I leave you with three documents:

1. The hand-scrawled complaint filed against the magazine by a radical, Saudi-trained imam who has publicly called for sharia law to be imposed in Canada;

2. My response to that complaint; and

3. A look at those cartoons again.

As they say in Virginia, sic semper tyrannis!

If any "court" in this country finds that Levant did not have the right to publish these cartoons, I will actively encourage every Canadian to engage in civil disobedience to the point where no town or city is not plastered in these images. It's not because I want to show disrespect for real human rights or freedoms, or for Muslims. It's because I know that a truly free person cannot be seriously offended by these cartoons (however ignorant, stupid, or uncharitable they may be); only those enslaved to primitive conceptions of the sacred and sacrificial can be seriously scandalized, which I admit includes an awful lot of Canadians today, since the left-liberal mainstream has become dependent for its understanding of the human (and even natural) world on the presence of victims, real or imagined, on every scene of its political and esthetic consciousness. In short, much of our society is practicing a death cult, a cult dependent on victims. If you find that hard to understand, keep reading this blog.

By the way, let's not forget that even the Danish imams who stirred up the cartoon controversy by sending these cartoons to Egypt, fabricated a couple more Mohammed cartoons of their own, to stoke the fire. They were not sincere about protesting the production of such cartoons, in and of themselves. Their hearts were not crushed by the simple presence of Mohammed cartoons, if these were created for the "right" Islamist reasons. What they were about was encouraging Moslems to be scandalized by the fact that Infidels were making fun of Islam. They were insisting on Islamic supremacism. And so too are those who are fronting the "human rights" campaigns against Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn today in Canada. That any official in Canada gives these supremacist hate mongers a moment's notice is the real scandal.

A free society lets anyone say pretty much anything without suffering a penalty, short of personal defamation or incitement to violence. And a free society knows how to ignore all manner of offensive abuse of freedom of speech, since free individuals know a duty, a covenant, to defend each other's freedom, so that no one need fear for their personal security. In any case, the idea that the state can act as the guarantor of our freedoms is ridiculous, since it is the state that is the only serious threat to freedom in a society where individuals are ready to stand up for each other. I reproduce the cartoons in this post, because I believe the only way to insure freedom for all Canadians, including Muslims, is that we become inured to scandal and group resentments. It would be a rather simple matter to argue that the Koran is hate speech against the non-believer who is cursed on almost every page of that book. But I don't think the Koran should be banned and if it were under attack in a Human Rights Commission, I would gladly reproduce it here.

A free society defends individual freedom, and does not make potential martyrs of hate mongers by requiring the state to punish them. Instead, free people freely shun hate mongers, in a very personal, decentralized manner. A free society does not engage in centralized scandal mongering. It is big enough to ignore the merely offensive because someone who is truly free cannot really be offended by scandalizing idiots. Uncharitable words wash off the free back like water on a duck. A free society does not go about trying to decide what religions, or religions/political ideologies, can and cannot be made fun of.

There can be no right in a free society to enforce the primitive sacred on your fellow citizens. If we can't make fun of sacrificial violence, we must engage in civil disobedience, perhaps one day even to the point of civil war if necessary to insure our freedom. But I think that's being hyperbolic. I remain confident that when Canadians step out of their ignorant stupor, and find out what these "Human Rights" commissions have gotten into, going far beyond their original mandate as Ezra Levant eloquently argues above, they will demand our duly elected governments take their share of responsibility for guaranteeing our individual freedoms and will reign in these death cult ideologues running the kangaroo courts. The very presence of these "commissions" is shamefully dehumanizing to anyone who knows what it is to be a free individual.

Hat tip: Mark Steyn who has more on the scandal of our kangaroo courts.


najistani said...

First they'll come for THE JEWS .

truepeers said...

So, najistani, is this to suggest that the BNP is no longer an antisemitic party? I wonder how Ezra Levant will feel about your post.

Anonymous said...

If any "court" in this country finds that Levant did not have the right to publish these cartoons, I will actively encourage every Canadian to engage in civil disobedience to the point where no town or city is not plastered in these images.

Why wait for the finding? Start now.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Canada: Freedom of Speech succumbing to Kangaroo Courts of the Human Rights Commission

Proceedings against Ezra Levant are nothing short of ridiculous, but let's consider the implications for moderate Muslims. This "investigation" will further divide Muslims and non-Muslims in Canada. It will give credence to radicals' claims that the West is at war with Islam. It will antagonize non-Muslims and moderate Muslims will be pushed towards radicalization. Regardless of the outcome, once again Islamists skillfully manipulated Dhimmi justice system and came out as clear winners. Thank you, Human Right Commission!

GW said...

A very good post. Have linked and am submitting this to the Watcher's Council.

covenant said...

Thanks gw; thanks m.a.s.; thanks anonymous

Dag said...

"This 'investigation' will further divide Muslims and non-Muslims in Canada...."

I can't accept that as valid. No one is responsible for radicalizing Muslims other than those who accept Islam as it is and who act thereon. No serious Human being is so susceptible to manipulation that a silly stint like the one above will influence them positively. That many people are not serious Human beings is not ours to decide. Nor is it right for us to 'protect' them from stupidity those who are so stupid they would be manipulated. Part of being free adults is the right to make seriously stupid decisions and then voluntarily living with the consequences. Some people will indeed make stupid decisions, and they will suffer for it. Or they should. It's part of the programme of making a wrong decision that one should suffer. It's a real thing, this need to suffer from wrong decisions. To prevent people from harm and to preclude harm from dangerous activities is to infantalize and seriously harm us all. I don't write this because I'm a heartless monster who wants people to suffer. I want people to suffer if they cause harm or do wrong. It is a good thing to suffer for wrong. It's good all around. It makes people, some, Human adults rather than farm animals. Suffering is a good thing in that it makes a person individual and responsible for himself. I'd write the same of reward should the occasion arise.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"I can't accept that as valid. No one is responsible for radicalizing Muslims other than those who accept Islam as it is and who act thereon."

Don't you think that people who finance radical Muslims are at least a little bit responsible for spread of radical Islam and marginalization of moderate Muslims?

Dag said...

I've written a long response that I want to sit on for a bit to rethink. No point posting it yet if I don't have it right.